The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 28 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Posh Puja pandal dons fire armour

It is substance over show for arguably Jamshedpur’s most upscale Durga Puja at Circuit House Area, which is making a fire-resistant and well-ventilated pandal this year at double its normal cost.

Fire retardant tarpaulins and aluminium rods, commonly seen in trade fair structures, will rule the 65-year-old CH Area Sarbajanin Durga Puja Committee rather than over-the-top décor. Till last year, the normal pandal cost at Rs 3 lakh, while this year’s new-age one will cost about Rs 6 lakh.

The sprawling 18,000sqft dome-shaped pandal with a 40ft height may look like a trade fair venue, but it boasts proper ventilation and safety cover for fire and rain. Though the pedestal for the goddess will not change place, the site of the cultural events next to the main pandal will also be made of tarpaulin.

In the past 64 years, the Puja pandal — renowned for its late-night adda culture and attendance of the city’s fashionistas — was like any other, made with bamboo and cloth. But from this year onwards, the Puja committee is underlining visitor safety.

“Although people celebrate silver, golden and diamond jubilees, the senior members of the committee this time urged us to celebrate its 65th year in style. Since something new had to be done, we emphasised on this novel concept of safety. Unanimously, we agreed to come up with a pandal of fireproof material for safety. We also had the continuous rains in mind while coming up with this concept,” said Biswajeet Roy, joint secretary of the CH Area Puja Committee.

“If donation permits, we will continue with this trend. We stopped door-to-door collection 12 years ago. Our funds are collected through donation from members and willing devotees,” added Roy.

Like the ongoing trade fair Canvas at Gopal Maidan, the aluminium rod and tarpaulin puja pandal at CH Area is also being prepared by Concern India Show Pvt Ltd. Most Puja pandals are erected by tent houses.

“Since there is always a risk of fire, I think other Puja committees may try this (fire-proof material) out. Safety should be of paramount concern. We will be happy to give construction materials if other Puja committees want,” said Jyoti Pandey, director, Concern India Show Pvt Ltd.

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